There is a nice mix of games filling every time slot in week seven. The early games are rightfully highlighted by the Ravens at Texans but Green Bay at St. Louis, Arizona at Minnesota, New Orleans at Tampa Bay and the Redskins at the Giants are all decent NFC matchups. Sunday night has Pittsburgh at Cincinnati in a game neither one can afford to lose while Monday night Chicago tries to distance themselves in the NFC North in another division rivalry game, at the Detroit Lions.
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3-3 New Jersey Jets at 3-3 New England Patriots
As much as I am loathe to admit this, in his last two games in Foxborough Mark Sanchez has thrown five touchdown passes, no interceptions and has a 116.5 passer rating; when his rating is 100 or higher the Jets are 9-2. On the other hand this Jets team doesn’t run the ball as well as previous versions did, and they have one of the worst run defenses in the league. As much as I would love to see the Pats blowout the Jets it’s tough for me to envision that happening with this pass defense. The line is just too high for my taste; the Pats win but the Jets cover.
Jets +10½, over 47½
– final score: Patriots 29, Jets 26 in OT
5-1 Baltimore Ravens at 5-1 Houston Texans
The Ravens can’t stop the run and now they face Arian Foster on the road. Much has been made of Baltimore’s laundry list of injuries but I can’t help but wonder if the Texans without Brian Cushing take the same type of drop in production as the Steelers do when Troy Polamalu is sidelined. The Packers were making great catches last week and though he would like you to believe otherwise Joe Flacco is no Aaron Rodgers. I expect Houston to win but the Ravens find a way to keep it close.
Ravens +7 (1 unit), under 48½
– final score: Texans 43, Ravens 13
3-3 Green Bay Packers at 3-3 St. Louis Rams
Like many dome teams the Rams are tough at home (3-0), but their offensive line is so banged up I have trouble seeing them continue what was a better than expected start to the season. Danny Amendola is still out for a while and Steven Jackson has hit the wall, averaging just 3.6 yards per carry. After a slow start the Packers are starting to click; this looks like two trains passing each other going in opposite directions. My one hesitation is going with a team that is playing its third straight road game and coming off an emotional win when the public was starting to openly doubt them.
Packers -5, under 45½
– final score: Packers 30, Rams 20
4-2 Arizona Cardinals at 4-2 Minnesota Vikings
Here’s another NFC West team that had a promising start that is on the verge of being rudely brought back to reality. The Cardinals have no running backs, a porous offensive line and a mediocre quarterback; the Vikings are much better in all three of those areas. Arizona has allowed an NFL-worst 28 sacks and 22 sacks in the last three games; now they get to face Jared Allen and the Vikings in a loud dome. I would prefer this to be around three points because of that very good Arizona defense but I’m still going to go with the Vikings anyways.
Vikings -5½ (1 unit), under 40½ (1 unit)
– final score: Vikings 21, Cardinals 14
1-4 New Orleans Saints at 2-3 Tampa Bay Bucs
For the first time in ten home games the Tampa area will get to see the Bucs on local television for a home game; I wonder if that means it will be a home away from home game for the Saints. The Bucs break out the throwback Bucco Bruce creamsicle uniforms; will they revert into the Yucs of old? Their defense misses Adrian Clayborn and shutting down the Saints passing game with the NFL’s #31 pass defense is a bit more daunting task than stopping Brady Quinn and the Chiefs.
Saints -1 (1 unit), over 49 (3 units)
– final score: Saints 35, Buccaneers 28
3-3 Washington Redskins at 4-2 New York Giants
The Giants lost to the Redskins twice last year, something that Tom Coughlin surely reminded his players so many times this week that they’ll come into this game playing the imaginary disrespect card for motivation. The Giants passing game against the NFL’s worst pass defense (yes, Washington’s is without a doubt worse than the Pats) is almost not fair.
Giants -5½ (3 units), under 51½
– final score: Giants 27, Redskins 23
2-4 Tennessee Titans at 3-3 Buffalo Bills
The Bills defense showed some life last week in a win at Arizona. This week they return home to face Tennesee, who has given up nine sacks in the last two games.
Bills -3 (1 unit), under 47
– final score: Titans 35, Bills 34
2-3 Dallas Cowboys at 1-4 Carolina Panthers
This game could be ugly; the two teams have combined to turn the ball over 23 times already this season. Tony Romo should have a good game against a defense that’s allowing 377 yards per game. The dallas defense is quietly underrated; they rank 1st in passing yards per game (182) and 2nd in total yards per game (285). While it is possible that Dallas might be looking ahead to next week’s game against the Giants I don’t think that will be a factor because the Cowboys did not win last week.
Cowboys -2 (2 units), over 45
– final score: Cowboys 19, Panthers 14
1-5 Cleveland Browns at 2-3 Indianapolis Colts
After an awful start Brandon Weedon is playing better. The Colts run defense is not good and it looks like Trent Richardson will be fine to play.
Browns +3½, under 46
-final score: Colts 17, Browns 13
1-4 Jacksonville Jaguars at 1-4 Oakland Raiders (4:25)
This one is easily the worst game of the week. Is it too early to consider tanking for the number one draft pick? When in doubt go against the crappy team traveling across three time zones. Darren McFadden should have a big game against a bad Jags run defense.
Raiders -6, under 44
-final score: Raiders 26, Jaguars 23 in OT
2-3 Pittsburgh Steelers at 3-3 Cincinnati Bengals (SNF)
Here’s another game that I don’t have a good feel for and find myself flip flopping on. Cincy leads the league in sacks per pass play and they’re facing Ben Roethlisberger, who holds the ball too long and as a result takes a ton of sacks, on a gimpy ankle. On the other hand the Steelers convert 52% of their third downs, Roethlisberger is 7-1 at Cincinnati, the Bengals just lost back to back games to Miami and Cleveland, and their record last year was a bit of a mirage (0-8 vs playoff teams). On top of that Marvin Lewis has never been able to coax consecutive winning seasons from the Bengals … but on the other hand the Steelers have never been any good when Troy Polamalu doesn’t play, and they have a long streak of two winning seasons followed by a losing season; guess what they’re scheduled to do this year.
Bengals +1½, over 45
-final score: Steelers 24, Bengals 17
4-1 Chicago Bears at 2-3 Detroit Lions (MNF)
A lot of people forget how well the Bears were playing last year before they were crippled by injuries; for some reason they’re still dismissed and underrated by many. Telling stat #1: the Bears have forced nearly three times as many turnovers (17) as the Lions have (6). Telling stat #2: Bears have a +9 turnover differential, the Lions are -1. Interesting prop bet would be whether or not the Lions allow yet another special teams touchdown.
Bears -5½ (1 unit), under 47½
– final score: Bears 13, Lions 7
2-Game Teaser: Giants +½ over Redskins and Saints at Bucs over 43 points
To listen to those on television and the radio you would think the Patriots were the only team to be upset last week but that was hardly the case. Week six was another good week for underdogs as they went 8-6 straight up and were 11-3 against the spread. For total points nine went over while only four were under, plus there was one push.
Results for Week 6 (and the season):
Straight Up: 8-6 last week, 60-31 for the season
Against The Spread: 8-6 / 42-48-1
Over/Under: 7-6-1 / 53-36-2
1 Unit Plays: 2-1 (+90) / 13-12
2 Unit Plays: 2-2 (-40) / 19-17-1
3 Unit Plays: 2-0-1 (+570) / 13-7-2
4 Unit Plays: 0-0 / 0-1
5 Unit Plays: 0-0 / 2-1
Weekly Total: 6-3-1 regular; no teasers
All Confidence Picks: 6-3-1 / 51-27-3
Week 6 Total: +620
Season Total: +5640
The best bets came through in a big way for me: the Jets-Colts under 44 was a push (35-9) but then the Bills at Cardinals stayed under 44 (19-16) and the Giants (+6½) beat the 49ers 26-3.
This Day In Patriots History
October 21, 1973:
In their first ever meeting the Patriots edge the Bears 13-10 at Soldier Field Road. Jim Plunkett scores the Pats only touchdown late on a 5-yard run in the come from behind victory. The two teams combined to run the ball 82 times while throwing only 29 passes. The Pats defense was stellar, forcing five turnovers to keep the Pats in the game. Sam Cunningham had 68 yards rushing and Plunkett added another 61 yards on the ground, while TE Bob Windsor had a pair of receptions for 53 yards. Chicago was led by former Patriot Carl Garrett, who ran for 91 yards rushing, 24 yards receiving, and added 105 yards on three kickoff returns.
October 21, 1979:
The Patriots score 28 unanswered points to rally from a 13-0 deficit and beat the Dolphins 28-13. The Pats defense harassed Miami into five turnovers, including a 35 yard interception return by Mike Hawkins to ice the game. Horace Ivory and Sam Cunningham had touchdown runs and Ray Jarvis had a 15-yard touchdown reception from Steve Grogan. The Pats went to 6-2 with the victory, one game ahead of the Dolphins in the AFC East.
October 21, 1984:
The Patriots lost to Miami for the second time on the season, 44-24 at Sullivan Stadium. For the Dolphins it was the 8th straight win of the year while the Patriots dropped to 5-3. Highlight of the game was a 73-yard touchdown pass from Tony Eason to Stanley Morgan in the 3rd quarter that pulled the Pats within six points, but Dan Marino responded by throwing his third and fourth touchdown passes after that. Eason actually held his own against Marino on the day: Marino went 24/39 for 316 yards, 4 TD and one INT while Eason was 19/29/313 with 3 TD and no picks.
October 21, 2001:
For the second time in his first year as a starting NFL quarterback Tom Brady gets the best of Peyton Manning as the Pats beat the Colts 38-17 to improve their season record to .500 at 3-3. This is the game when David Patten ran for a touchdown, caught a touchdown pass and threw a touchdown pass. The Patriots jumped out to a 28-3 first half lead on a 29-yard run by Patten, a 91-yard pass from Brady to Patten, a 60-yard pass from Patten to Troy Brown and a 2-yard pass from Brady to Jermaine Wiggins. The Colts pulled to within 14 before Patten scored yet again in the 4th quarter on a 6-yard pass from Brady. On the day Patten had a grand total of 226 yards to go with the four touchdowns: 60 yards passing, 29 yards rushing, 117 yards receiving and a 20 yard kick return.
October 21, 2007:
The Patriots jump out to a 42-7 first half lead and cruise to a 49-28 victory over Miami at Dolphin Stadium. Wes Welker and Randy Moss both had over 12 0 yards receiving and a pair of touchdown catches as the Pats improved to 7-0 while the Dolphins remained winless.
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October 21, 1941:
Steve “The Colonel” Cropper was born in Dora, Missouri. Before gaining fame with a second generation of fans in the Blues Brothers film he was better known as the guitar player for Booker T and the MG’s.
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